Saturday, January 5, 2019

The unforced rhythm of grace

There are lots of invitations that come our way. We get invited to birthday parties, sometimes celebrating huge milestones in one's life. We receive invitations to social events such as the grand opening of an art gallery, new theater production, or movie premiers. We are encouraged to attend small events that honor someone who has done a great job, or larger ones that celebrate their heroic efforts. Invitations some in all shapes and sizes, for small and big events, celebrating great and small achievements. One invitation rises above all the rest - the one that invites us to recover our lives.

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28 MSG
I get tired at times, almost 'over-tired', making it harder to get any rest for my weary body and worn out 'thinker'. I have a hard time 'shutting down' when I have been running at break-neck speed all the day long. I have accomplished much, but there is much more I'd like to accomplish, making it hard for me to actually 'turn off' the day. I can honestly say there have also been times when I am just plain 'worn out' and even 'burned out'. The truth is that all of us reach this point from time to time, but it is what we do at those times that matters. If we continue to drive, drive, drive - we wear out - especially when that 'driving' relates to us trying to 'fix ourselves' in some respect. The 'fixing' isn't all that easy sometimes and we are best to leave it to someone who actually knows how to do the fix right!
Jesus makes an invitation to us that we really should consider - walk with him, work with him, and watch how he 'fixes' lives - ours included! There is no better invitation we could receive, but look at the posture we must assume to fully appreciate all that is included in that invitation. The first this is to get away with him if we want to recover our life - we have to accept the invite. Next, we have to actually take steps with him - walk with him. We cannot move toward an invitation without taking action upon that invitation. We need to get up out of the mully-grubs we find ourselves in and just take some steps in the right direction - toward him. When we do, we find we begin to shed some of the stuff that has been weighing us down, keeping us right there in the thick of the mully-grubs!
Then if that is not enough, Jesus reminds us there will be a little 'labor' in the pursuit. We must work with him - we have to do what it is we can do and then he will come alongside to do the rest. I cannot say this enough - it isn't us 'fixing' ourselves - but we all are asked to take certain steps that are within our 'power' or 'ability' to do. One such action might be to reconcile a relationship by taking the first steps toward reconciliation - actually reaching out to the one we have been at odds with. It might not seem like much, but that little step of 'labor' is all he asks to begin to set in motion big things within our lives - big things that lead to restoration and renewal on so many fronts.
As we begin to walk with him and work with him, it will become apparent how the 'unforced rhythms of grace' actually begin to play out in our lives. I like how Jesus describes grace as an 'unforced rhythm' - reminding us that grace is something given freely on his part and it is 'rhythmic' in nature - repeating the paths of renewal until full and total renewal has occurred within each of us. The rhythmic and unforced passage of grace over and over those worn areas of our lives can actually 'put back' more than what was originally lost - sometimes without us even realizing it has! Just sayin!

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